Chronic Pain

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again and in between the amazing and the awful
it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful,
and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

– L.R. Knost

Ask Mark* – Chronic pain can rule your life.

Mark can’t remember what it’s like not to live every day with chronic pain. He tells me that even in high school, he remembers times when he didn’t “bounce back” from a sports injury like his friends. He worked a physically demanding job for a few years, but his pain became so severe that he could no longer work.

Getting out of bed in the morning is awful (pain is 8 out of 10). He is stiff and sore from being in bed all night. About two hours later is the best feeling of the day. At that point, he has taken a long, hot shower and his pain medications (pain is now a 3 out of 10).

Mark plans his day and prioritizes what needs doing because his pain will only allow so much and is cumulative with each physical activity. Eventually, his body will quit as his pain ramps up to 9 or 10 out of 10 in severity and pure exhaustion.

Mark has a cornucopia of aches and pains.

Headaches with aching and burning neck and shoulders are part of Mark’s daily routine. Stabbing pain in his back radiates down his legs, causing it to feel like “pins and needles” in all his fingers and toes.

Aches in hips, knees, ankles, and feet mean that Mark needs to pace himself and take breaks between daily tasks.

Mark has seen multiple doctors and specialists who administered tons of MRIs, CT scans, surgeries, injections, and LOTS of medication. Each appointment with another specialist renewed his hopes because he desperately wanted permanent relief and NOT ANOTHER MEDICATION.

Chronic pain has slowly dismantled Mark’s life.

Unable to work and contribute financially to the household tortures Mark’s self-worth. His social life is nil, and friends eventually stop calling with invitations after his inability to tolerate going anywhere. Although it hurts that they don’t call anymore, they don’t know what to say to him other than, “You look good; you must be better now!”

Chronic pain is invisible to others and exhausting to explain and “justify” what it’s like to live in your body.

Mark feels he is letting down his family members daily. They only see him resting a lot and getting “foggy” from all the medication. He wishes he could play with his kids, help his wife with all the chores, and take them out to do fun things. If he forces himself to make these things happen, he will “pay the price” for the next several days to recover.

Chronic pain has a way of stealing your life.

The back stories of my chronic pain patients over the years vary greatly, ranging from car accidents, work injuries, fibromyalgia, Lyme’s disease, Lupus, POTS, migraines, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, abuse survivor, etc. However, their recent stories are mostly the same.

It’s not only the pain being awful; it’s more the fact that the pain has stolen the life they envisioned. They miss being physically active and energetic, contributing to the household with quality time spent with family members, and being productive, contributing financially, and good at their job.

Feeling appreciated, satisfied, and rewarded with a job well done, providing money to pay the household bills, and having other adults to feel “normal” around are essential parts of life. Besides, getting out of the house for fun things like socializing with friends is integral to anyone’s life.

Biofeedback made a difference in Mark’s life.

After trying all the procedures available and still suffering from chronic pain, Mark’s pain management doctor referred him to biofeedback therapy. Although skeptical about whether biofeedback could help, he did NOT want to take another medication that did nothing but make him feel like a zombie and barely have a life.

Throughout Mark’s biofeedback therapy sessions, he was able to “down train” excess muscle tension to complete relaxation criteria. He mastered the skill of being aware of when his pain was worsening and learned how consistently to release the excess muscle tension, at will.

Mark learned when triggers initiated his “fight or flight” response, quickly and effectively calming his body and quieting his mind.

Other parts of Mark’s treatment plan in biofeedback therapy included instruction in an anti-inflammatory diet, stretches, and recommendations for appropriate and tolerable exercises he can do for life. He also received manual craniosacral therapy sessions. In contrast to deep tissue massages that are difficult for some patients, craniosacral therapy is gentler and easier to tolerate.

Biofeedback therapy helps YOU rule your life – not chronic pain.

After actively participating in a round of biofeedback therapy sessions (averages around 15 sessions over 3-4 months), patients can manage their symptoms in a tolerable range and engage much more in the life activities of their choice.

Yes, the pain will still be a part of their daily life, but NOT front and center and running the show! You CAN learn to take back control of your life and not feel like your chronic pain symptoms are making all the decisions for you and stealing your life from you.

Biofeedback therapy helped Mark learn to manage his pain effectively without taking more medications, and it can help you, too!

Call me today to get started on the path to feeling better!

*Name changed to protect client confidentiality.